Thursday, July 04, 2013

A Better Country

I pick up my Chai Tea and take in my surroundings. At one table is a Filipino couple drinking coffee and working on their computers. A young Persian girl is talking on the phone over in the corner. And I am just about to sit down with two of my best friends- a refugee from El Salvador and an African American from North Carolina. All of us in a Starbucks at the corner of a shopping center with a Mexican supermarket as its anchor.

I turn on the news and see a democratically-elected president toppled only one year after his election by a military coup while his allies are being thrown in prison and dozens are killed. Meanwhile at home our elected representatives have the lowest approval rating of any organization ever polled by Gallup yet no blood is spilled.

Our country has been called a "melting pot" and our government the "grand experiment". Depending on your political leanings and who is in office you might have a few more colorful adjectives to describe your temporary home. Maybe a "melting experiment" might fit. You might not like the current administration or you may be celebrating the recent decisions by the Supreme Court. Either way, you and I can sit down and have coffee together without risk of physical harm, imprisonment, or political retaliation.

And Sunday, in an environment when many political decisions appear to be counter to the Bible I read and follow, we can still come together and worship in freedom.

American Stock/Getty Images

We live in a pretty neat place.

But this place is not my home.

I love Hebrews 11, often called the "Hall of Fame of Faith". While the stories of Biblical heroes are inspiring, it is their motivation that always moves me. Describing Abraham the author of Hebrews writes, "For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (v 10). Of Moses he writes, "He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time." (v 25)

Their motivation was not in the here and now. They were looking forward to something more, something better. "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own... [T]hey were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (v 13-14, 15-16)

As you celebrate our country today (assuming you're reading this in the US) I urge you to long for a better country- a heavenly one. I pray that together we long and strive for a Kingdom with Jesus himself as priest and king, independent of any political party or movement. And I ask that you remember that this is not our home.


Rick Dawson said...

Frank - thank you for this. Thank you seems so inadequate, but we need to be reminded of whose we are and where we're destined to live regularly because we get hooked into life here so easily.

Fatha Frank said...

Thank you for the comment and encouragement, Rick! I need to be reminded of this myself frequently when I find myself chasing too hard after things that will not last. Or like you say, "hooked into life". I feel like that sometimes. I bite for the bait and end up hooked on the end of a line.

David Rupert said...

I remember Larry Norman singing, "This world is not my home" and "I'm only visiting this planet." It's true and yet I get so frustrated with politics. In the end, what really matters?

Fatha Frank said...

David, thank you for stopping by! I sing "this world is not my home" to myself all the time, I need the reminder! I've always been a politics junkie, but I've learned the big two (abortion and gay-marriage) aren't worth debating because sides are so firmly entrenched (plus the amount of hate spewed by both sides makes me ill). But if you want to debate foreign policy, transportation infrastructure, the federal budget... I'm all game!